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The Hanged Man (Her Majesty's Psychic Service #1)

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  1,186 Ratings  ·  263 Reviews
The Hanged Man is the first book all-new Gaslamp Fantasy series by P. N. Elrod.

On a freezing Christmas Eve in 1879, a forensic psychic reader is summoned from her Baker Street lodgings to the scene of a questionable death. Alexandrina Victoria Pendlebury (named after her godmother, the current Queen of England) is adamant that the death in question is a magically compromis
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published May 19th 2015 by Tor Books
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Nina I looked Elrod up on Wikipedia, and it mentioned that she'd sold the series to Tor publishers. I think there are two more books written, but it's up…moreI looked Elrod up on Wikipedia, and it mentioned that she'd sold the series to Tor publishers. I think there are two more books written, but it's up to Tor to decide whether or not to publish them, and when, I believe. (less)

Community Reviews

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Gail Carriger
May 20, 2015 Gail Carriger rated it really liked it
Enjoyable read. It features Alex, a physic (a little like being an empath), and various other entrants into the occult. I would call it more gaslight fantasy, as opposed to steampunk, in the vein of The Native Star by M. K. Hobson. I found the plot enjoyable to follow, the side characters very intriguing, and the love interest (or is it interests) appealing. For me, I would prefer a little more nookie and a little less gore, but that's know how I roll.
Mogsy (MMOGC)
Nov 03, 2014 Mogsy (MMOGC) rated it really liked it
4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

I have a weakness for gaslight paranormal fantasy and lady detectives, so when presented with P.N. Elrod’s The Hanged Man I found I could hardly resist this delectable mystery set in alternate historical England with shades of the Victorian era.

The book begins on a cold and dreary Christmas Eve in 1897, and Alexandrina Victoria Pendlebury of Her Majesty’s Psychic Service is called out to a house on Baker Street to do a f
Mar 13, 2015 Magdalena marked it as to-read
This is a review...of the first 4 chapters. I'm quite sure that when I saw and downloaded this book on NetGalley it didn't say it was a preview excerpt, but then it suddely did. I could be wrong. But that's not the point. The point is that I have read the first four chapters of a book that I really liked and then there wasn't anymore. I can understand reading a sample of a book, but still this was quite a lot of the book and I want more. NOW!

So how was the book? The first four chapters where rea
May 22, 2015 Miriam rated it liked it
This was my first encounter with Elrod since reading a couple of Vampire Files in my teens, and although the setting is different -- an alt-history Victorian London -- stylistically it is about what I remember: entertaining but not very complex* plot, sympathetic but not very rounded characters, competent but not noteworthy prose style. Fun beach read sort of thing.

*In fact, so not-complex that some twists I was expected turned out to be wishful thinking.
❀Aimee❀ Just one more page...
I rather enjoyed this book. It was steampunkish murder mystery/+ bigger plot in an alternate England.

Alex is an engaging main character that works with Her Majesty's Psychic Service. She is level headed but impulsive, sensible yet often throws caution to the wind in order to solve the mysteries surrounding the case. Hers is a world where some have paranormal abilities, many of which work to keep England safe. Late at night she is called to the scene of murder that hits close to home. Soon she i
❀Aimee❀ Just one more page...
Thank you Netgalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for a eARC 4 chapter EXCERPT in exchange for an honest review.

I'm dying to read the rest of this book.
Princess Bride waiting
HP waiting

Alex is a Reader. She is called to "read" deaths and suspects to bring about justice. She is part of a department of psychic readers under Her Majesty's service in this alternate, mildly steampunk England. She is strong, stoic, smart, lonely. She is Sherlockian in observation and lives on Baker street. I'm also in love with the brusque and intimidat
May 21, 2015 Melliane rated it really liked it
Mon avis en Français

My English review

I saw some very good reviews about this book and I admit that I was impatient to begin it to discover the whole story. It must be said that it had it all: a fantasy aspect, a good investigation, murders and all that taking place during the Victorian period. What more can we ask for?

So we discover Alexandrina Victoria Pendlebury, a young woman part of the secret services and helping the police to solve some murders. Indeed, her gift allows her to feel the emo
Jacob Proffitt
Jun 27, 2015 Jacob Proffitt rated it liked it
Shelves: steampunk
I didn't connect very well to this book, which is kind of a shame. The world is interesting and the story is well constructed. There are interesting elements and I can't help thinking I should have enjoyed this much better than I did.

The obvious weaknesses are the uneven pacing and an emotionally distant main character. Alex Pendlebury is a "Reader"—someone who reads the emotions of others (including lingering impressions left on objects and locations). To keep from being overwhelmed, she has le
*RATING* 4.0

*My Thoughts*

On Christmas Eve 1879, Alex, a top of the line Psychic reader who works for Her Majesty's Psychic Service, is called out by the gruff Scotland Yard Inspector Lennon who tells it like it is, and isn't afraid of offending anyone's sensibilities or political correctness. He has himself a pickle, and can't get anything done until Alex clears the scene for him. He believes the victim is a suicide, but needs Alex to verify that fa
Jamie Collins
Jul 07, 2015 Jamie Collins rated it liked it
I picked this up because I like Elrod’s Vampire Files series, which are entertaining books about a vampire private detective living in 1920’s Chicago.

This is something different: a “gaslamp fantasy”, or perhaps steampunk lite: we have Victorians with modern attitudes, airships and a little fancy weaponry, but no excessive gadgetry. It features an agent in Her Majesty’s Psychic Service who, in the course of solving a murder mystery/conspiracy, discovers that there are more supernatural forces at
Jun 07, 2015 AE rated it did not like it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
My emotions:

Chapter 4: Oh whoa! Cool introduction. This is going along well!

Chapter 6ish: huh this is slowing down a bit. What are we doing again? Who is this person?

Chapter 8ish: okay this used to be interesting. I'm going to press on. I'm sure it'll pick up.

Chapter 11: I'm bored and I really can't go on. Should I quit? Should I finish?

*leaves to sleep and comes back a day later*

Well, I could just skip to the final chapter (15) and just see how it goes.

Chapter 15 skips: Huh. Well, I guess
Mar 10, 2015 Hilary rated it really liked it

I got a tantalizing preview from Netgalley... but I don't feel I can publish a review for an excerpt. What I read is well worth the 4.5 stars though! Can't wait for the complete book. (Tor, please don't make me wait till May!)

Updated after I read the complete book: it did not disappoint. This book has a unique, engaging protagonist for a murder mystery set in the Victorian era - but with a twist: Victoria didn't marry Albert, and has set up her own Psychic Service for those special investigat
Obviously I cannot review or rate this as I was provided with the preview except of the first four chapters, but if they are any indication of what the book is going to be, this will be a phenomenal, lush and dynamic read! I am looking forward to reading the whole story.
Nov 06, 2016 Andree rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
Default three star rating.

This isn't terrible, but it isn't spectacular either. I like parts of it, and there are some great details, but I also have issues.
1. It's one heck of a case of likeable characters being good, and unlikeable ones being evil. To the extent that I'm wondering how some things remained hidden. There is also not sufficient explanation for the reasons behind some of the characters actions. I accept that some people are really just terrible, but (view spoiler)
A Reader's Heaven
(I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.)

This was a *SNEAK PEEK* copy - only the first four chapters.

On a freezing Christmas Eve in 1879, a forensic psychic reader is summoned from her Baker Street lodgings to the scene of a questionable death. Alexandrina Victoria Pendlebury (named after her godmother, the current Queen of England) is adamant that the death in question is a magically compromised murder and not a suicide, as the police had assumed, a
This book has a unique, engaging protagonist for a murder mystery set in the Victorian era - but with a twist: Victoria didn't marry Albert, and has set up her own Psychic Service for those special investigations. I was fully engaged, with the plot steaming on at full speed... and then I came to the end of the preview. In my eagerness to try P.N. Elrod's new book, I hadn't noticed this was just an excerpt.

Disclaimer: I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Apr 30, 2015 Elspeth marked it as to-read
I got the excerpt from Netgally, and it was really interesting.
May 21, 2015 Gail rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, steampunk
What caught my eye was the title since it indicates a Tarot card. Nothing to do with that. Nevertheless, this steampunk novel with romantic elements is great. It's got a very strongly built reworking of Victorian England. The young queen defies convention and marries a peer of the realm and lives happily married with four children. A strong believer in the rights of women and men, she works to grant the vote to everyone in the realm. The England under this Queen flourishes around the world, as d ...more
Katharine Kimbriel
Jun 10, 2015 Katharine Kimbriel rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Steampunk, gas lamp fantasy/mystery lovers.
What if Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent (the future Queen Victoria) had a wake-up call prior to her crowning—one that caused her to battle for the rights of her citizens? What if British women had the vote in the 1850s, and their own property rights? What if Victoria had insisted on marrying a peer and not a prince?

What if this all happened in a world where a Psychic Service was critical, because enemies dark and networked were attacking the roots of the empire?

This is t
Jessica Strider
May 27, 2015 Jessica Strider rated it really liked it
Pros: great protagonist, interesting mystery, subtle romance


Alexandrina Pendelbury is goddaughter of Queen Victoria and a member of Her Majesty’s psychic service. On Christmas eve she’s called in to do a Reading for a suicide, but the emotions surrounding the crime scene are strange, and the identity of the victim propels her into investigating a series of mysteries.

In many ways this book reminded me of Jaime Lee Moyer’s book, Delia’s Shadow. Though this one takes place further in the past
Jun 25, 2016 Nina rated it really liked it
This book is....a lot of things.

My favorite thing? Alex. She's intelligent, knows how to fight, has a hunger to travel the world and explore, is strong-willed and a little bit petty. Any heroine with a sharp tongue and a pistol is going to be a favorite of mine.

TBH, all these characters are pretty great. They're well rounded, most of them. Brook feels a little generic, but everyone else has a decent level of depth.

The plot kept moving along pretty quickly, with enough plot twists and dramatic r
Sep 16, 2015 Margaret rated it really liked it
Fantastic new novel by P. N. Elrod.

Alexandrina Victoria Pendlebury, named for her godmother, Queen Victoria, works for Her Majesty's Psychic Service. Mostly Alex works with Scotland Yard as a Forensic Reader, but when a close family member is murdered, Alex finds herself confronting terror and treason at every turn.

Set in a Victorian England where Victoria married an English peer, not a German prince, and where women got both the vote and equal rights in 1859, "The Hanged Man" is best described
In The Hanged Man we meet Alexandrina Victoria Pendlebury, or Alex for short, a forensic psychic reader, as her past catches up to her. She can read heightened emotions lingering in a room, on people and objects. This case catapults her into a shadowy plot that she is determined to uncover even as she becomes a target herself.

The writing was very dense to me right from the get go. I don't like dense because even if you like a premise and are enjoying events for the most part it can still cause a
Thoroughly enjoyable Victorian alt-history, minimal steampunk, extremely satisfying fascist punching!

I wish I could just end the review like this because writing reviews for good books is awfully difficult, but a book as good as The Hanged Man deserves the full treatment. This book is what I've been craving for a long time - it's a gaslight fantasy/mystery done right.

The Hanged Man is set in a clever alternative twist on the Victorian era, where an enlightened Queen Victoria married a Lord Arthur instead of Albert and had herself championed the passing of the bill that gave women
Mar 15, 2015 M.L. rated it liked it
Rating: 3 1/2 stars.
I was provided a preview excerpt by Netgalley.
3 1/2 stars
I was expecting a historical mystery but got paranormal instead. So for those fans of paranormal mysteries - and they are legion - this might just be for you. Alternate history is presented here to make the premise of government psychic investigators during Queen Victoria's time period logical. This was a great time period to explore and the characters were likeable and engaging. The plot was intriguing, as well.

Katie Sholty
May 07, 2015 Katie Sholty rated it it was amazing
Shelves: paranormal, gaslamp
Reasons that it is a must read:
Queen Victoria marries a commoner, forever altering The British Empire. *i really wished this happened.*

The key players; Alex, Brooks, James, Sybil, Teddy, and Sir Richard are larger than life. Each use their set of unique abilities to foil their enemy's agendas whether on purpose or accidental, that will keep you laughing and intrigued.

Brooks is new to the Psychic Service, and as such you learn along with Brooks what is required of an employee of the Service. The
Ali Toland
Jul 06, 2015 Ali Toland rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult
The moment I saw this book at Barnes and Noble I knew I had to read it, and I was absolutely right! From the beginning you are immersed in the culture and language of 1800's England, there was as much fact as there was fiction and I loved it. The main character of Alex is one that I can wholly relate too(and not just because we share similar first names) she is vibrant, engaging, and of course hot-tempered; all qualities I love in female leads. Alex gets involved in something way over her head g ...more
Dec 22, 2016 Kristen rated it it was amazing
I absolutely adored this book. I cannot wait for more!!! Hurry & write them, Ms. E!!!!
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Apr 27, 2015 02:26PM  
  • The Shadow Revolution (Crown & Key, #1)
  • Grave Phantoms (Roaring Twenties, #3)
  • The Diabolical Miss Hyde (Electric Empire, #1)
  • The Clockwork Dagger (Clockwork Dagger, #1)
  • Gossamer Wing (Steam and Seduction, #1)
  • We Both Go Down Together (Incryptid, #0.09)
  • The Iron Assassin
  • The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath (The Peculiar Adventures of John Loveheart, Esq. #1)
  • Karen Memory
  • Clockwork Heart (Clockwork Heart, #1)
  • The Buried Life (Recoletta, #1)
  • His Clockwork Canary (The Glorious Victorious Darcys, #2)
  • The Iron Wyrm Affair (Bannon & Clare, #1)
  • The Doomsday Vault (Clockwork Empire #1)
  • What Ho, Automaton! (Reeves & Worcester Steampunk Mysteries Book, #1)
  • Bronze Gods (Apparatus Infernum, #1)
  • The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter (The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire, #1)
  • The Executioner's Heart (Newbury and Hobbes, #4)
Patricia Nead Elrod is an American fantasy writer specializing in novels about vampires. Her work falls into areas of fantasy and (in some cases) mystery or historical fiction, but normally not horror, since her vampires are the heroes. -Wikipedia
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